Combatting marine litter: Ghost gear
One of the biggest threats to our oceans is marine litter and in particular, ghost fishing gear. Ghost gear refers to any fishing equipment or fishing-related litter that has been abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded and is some of the most harmful and deadly debris found in oceans
What are we doing about it
DFO has been working with industry on ongoing basis where fish harvesters are being encouraged to undertake ghost gear removal initiatives, in conjunction with local fishery enforcement officers. We are also working to expand current mandatory reporting requirements for lost gear to more fisheries.
A Gear Innovation Summit will take place in 2019/20 and will include a stream focused on technological solutions to mitigate ghost gear. A date has not yet been set for the Summit. DFO will also be collaborating with industry partners to pilot potential projects in order to reduce and mitigate impacts of ghost gear.
DFO’s efforts are also in support of international commitments made by Canada through the G7, the United Nations and the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), among others.
From July 18 to 20, 2019, DFO and the Canadian Coast Guard conducted a three-day ghost gear retrieval operation in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. This operation focused on areas with concentrations of ghost gear.
The goal of Operation Ghost was to remove as much lost fishing gear as possible from the Gulf of St. Lawrence in order to help prevent entanglements to marine mammals, including right whales, and increase the sustainability of Canada’s Atlantic fisheries.
We recovered over 100 snow crab traps removing over 9 km of rope from the water.
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